“Our van flipped over and we nearly went off a bridge,” says frontman Joe Brown.
Brown speaks about the wreck matter-of-factly now, but the incident was just one of many in a year that was anything but a cakewalk for the band. Bassist Phil Pirrone was almost killed in a separate car accident and he and guitarist Nathan Linderman would later have an acrimonious departure from the band. Drummer Brett Dinovo quit to go back to school and to top it off Columbia Records was not happy with the band and the feeling was mutual. That's enough adversity to forever seal the fate of most bands but Brown and songwriting partner Dan Arnold were determined to sweep out the ashes and move on.
Sitting in a sports bar in Tempe, Az, Brown and Arnold make it clear that the year of craziness is well behind them. The pair is relaxed as they munch a pre-show dinner of sandwiches and veggie sticks, casually eyeing the crowd that is lining up right next door to witness ASL's first performance of the current tour.
Brown exudes a confidence as he speaks, “We've got new members (John Death – guitar, Dane Poppin – bass, Jarrod Alexander – drums), it's all really fresh and the new album's out … I'm really stoked!” A Static Lullaby is now signed to Fearless Records and the new release is simply called A Static Lullaby in a nod to the fact that the group is basically starting over.
“I guess overall there was about a four month period where I was shaky … really wary about what I was going to do,” says Brown. “Dan and I knew that we were going to keep it going so we wrote a couple songs but we didn't have a band behind us. So we threw out a post on MySpace, something we had never done before.
“The bad ones and the good ones, we checked them all out. We held an audition and some of the most outstandingly horrible musicians were there! It was all in good fun. The open-audition thing didn't really work out; it was a little too ‘American Idol.' But when we got down to trying out people one-on-one we found the people we were going to connect with.”
ASL wants people to talk about its music, not the drama that sometimes embroils a young rock band. Maybe that's why Brown seems to have toned down his image – the exaggerated widow's peak in his hair is now barely noticeable. The singer shrugs off the new 'do and pointing to his well-inked arms indicates that he won't be getting any more tattoos, at least not for the foreseeable future.
Brown is very recently married and his cell phone rings often as he and his wife cope with being apart for the first time since the wedding. Again, wanting to stay focused on the music, Brown's only comment is a lovingly-sighed, “Women are crazy!”
Still, Brown gives the band's wilder days some of the credit for their maturation. “We had a general fire and a whole sense that we're ‘gonna tear shit up' and ‘nobody's going to be able to touch us' for the longest time. Now that we're older I can really see that little bit of egotisticalness kind of got us to where we're at. But we're not like that now. We're really centered; we're a lot more grounded now.”A Static Lullaby's self-titled album is currently available. The band will perform Nov. 28 at the Glasshouse, in Pomona and Nov. 29 at the Troubadour, in West Hollywood. For more information, visit www.astaticlullaby.com